My father keeps sending us fruitcakes.
Oh, I'm not trying to sound ungrateful. They're from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, and they're pretty good, actually; less a fruitcake than a pecan cake. If you have to eat a fruitcake, these are definitely the one to get. The Apricot Pecan Cake is especially nice. (They even sell them at Central Market now, for all y'all other foodie snobs.)
It's just that, you see, we are drowning in them. He sent us THREE last year, and TWO this year. We ate one last year...it literally took us until August, but we did finish it...and we gave one to Todd and Aimee, and we put the other in the freezer, so we could have it THIS year.
And lo, last week, I look in the mailbox, and there are TWO MORE. I gave one to Bill and Julie, and we've cut a piece or two off of the other, but god DAMN it, there is still the fucking fruitcake from last year in the freezer.
So, tonight, my mother called me, distraught. She asks, "Have you gotten any fruitcakes from your father?" (She lives with him, remember.) I reply, "YES, do not send me ANY MORE." It appears that he has ordered her no fewer than SEVEN fruitcakes, my sister two, my brother and his wife two, and one each for every single one of their old friends. My mother got the bill for them, and he spent over $400 on fruitcakes this year. (And, after all that, he still even sends me the Pineapple Pecan Cakes every year instead of the Apricot Pecan Cake, which is the one we like.)
My father is 75 years old, and in failing health. His mind wasn't that sharp 20 years ago, actually, and it's way less so now. He just gets these catalogs - and, may I ask you, do these catalog people just prey on the elderly and infirm? - and I think that he does not remember buying them, and that it is just some weird compulsion.
I'm sure that means that I should be more charitable, no? But, as I suck, I am not feeling particularly charitable about it. I know it's the deterioration that's causing this...but we so desperately need $400 right now, or even $40. We DON'T NEED FOOD. PARTICULARLY NOT SWEETS. The Man and I are on the never-ending diet, and we won't eat anything for a month after the holidays; the kids eat enough sweets as it is. But I need...oh, say, a new computer! Bookshelves! Clothing to conform to the rapidly-changing clothing rules of the first grade fashionista police! Money for theater/piano/girl scouts/soccer/art/Society for Creative Anachronism or whatever the fuck freaky organization OG has decided she's into this week.*
It's not just the fruitcakes, though. At home, Mom receives pound after pound of cheese, nuts, dates, smoked sausage, that type of crap. Plus bizarre kitchen gadgetry - I have a pan with a hinge (to make ONE pancake with,) a cheese grater with a little box attached, a plastic knife guide to slice bread with - seriously, shit you cannot imagine. Mom gives me what's overflowing from her cabinets, and I summarily give most of them to charity. But I have guiltily held on to just enough of the crap that I can feel like it wasn't just wasted money and effort.
I begged Mom to start throwing away the catalogs before he gets to them. I think she's finally gotten to that point. I doubt she could pry the checkbook out of his hand, but maybe she could just call to get off the mailing lists. Maybe I'll do that for her when I go home.
Guess I know what I'm having for dinner at their house, anyway! (But - good news; there'll also be a case of Boulevard Nutcracker Ale. Beer makes it all better.)
*Note to SCA types: I was just kidding around with thou.